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yes, we had a good time at the movies in 2016


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Entries in Costume Design (199)

Sunday
May082016

Swing, Tarzan, Swing! Ch.1: Buster Crabbe's Loincloth

New Miniseries! As we approach the release of The Legend of Tarzan (2016) we'll be ogling past screen incarnations of the Lord of the Apes each weekend like we're going to an old timey matinee.


We begin with Buster Crabbe as Tarzan the Fearless (1933) who looks much better in this movie than implied on the poster which imagines him from maxi-challenge workroom outtakes from RuPaul's Drag Race. Blend, man, blend!

This next image is more flattering I promise...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr172016

April Foolish Predictions: Visual Categories

Hello Dear Reader! Your host Nathaniel checking in from a screening and chart-making frenzy. I'm heading off to my jury meeting at the Nashville International Film Festival (New Directors competition) to bestow prizes. But I wanted to point you to chart updates (the remainder will premiere this week to complete our April Foolish tradition). So let's talk costume design and cinematography and such. (lots more after the jump)

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr092016

Review: Melissa McCarthy in "The Boss"

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

Melissa McCarthy cuts an imposing figure in her first scene in The Boss and I’m not talking about her plus size physique though we’ll get there in a minute. In the new comedy she’s Michelle Darnell, a mega-successful businesswoman (details are fuzzy on what kind) descending into a stadium on a giant faux phoenix that’s shooting off fireworks. The sound mix is as uniformly deafening as that image is unsubtle so you can’t make out a single word of the rapping, mob chanting, pandemonium that follows. This should be annoying but it comes as a weird relief in this relentlessly politicking season of pandering narcissistic windbags wearing saggy human costumes on TV every night. It’s better to close your ears and laugh at the inanity of the spectacle than really contemplate what they’re saying and what their cults are cheering about; that way lies nihilistic depression about the state of the world and we’re here to laugh, damnit, this being a Melissa McCarthy movie. (In short: I was in the right mood to see this movie. And that often matters with comedy.)

Shortly after that insane entrance, which presents Darnell as a Susan Powter style self-help guru (for economics), the movie recasts her as a less specific cutthroat executive who buys and sells companies in the blink of an eye — and buys and sells out people with equally swift mercilessness.  [More...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr042016

Doctor Strange, Alexandra Byrne, and Superhero Oscar Trivia

'Last one to Oscar is a rotten egg!'

Doctor Strange (1 time nominee Benedict Cumberbatch) and Baron Mordo (1 time nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor) are running from or towards something in this set photo from the forthcoming Doctor Strange which opens November 4th, 2016. Also in the cast are other 1 time Oscar darlings Tilda Swinton and Rachel McAdams and future Oscar nominees (well, maybe... eventually) Mads Mikkelsen and Michael Stuhlbarg. 

After the jump more set photos, costume design, and Oscar prospects...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar032016

How Jenny Beavan won the Oscars

Tim here. I watched the Oscars this year completely without the aid of social media of any sort – absolutely worth doing, if you haven't recently. It lets you enjoy the ceremony for the ceremony.

What that means is that I didn't realize for two whole days that there was quite a furor over my very favorite visual from the whole night, Jenny Beavan's outstanding outfit that she wore on the way to collect her Best Costume Design award for Mad Max: Fury Road. It turns out that there were quite a few people who did not share my view that it was the night's clear highlight. Several of them were sitting right inside the Kodak Theater with her, in fact, rather visibly failing to be delighted by her attire. That's especially true of an epically grumpy Alejandro González Iñárritu. He and several other conspicuous non-clappers were the subject of a Vine that went viral on the spot.

The internet has obligingly and appropriately pushed back, including a magnificent Paddy Considine tweet that I dare not show here on account of the very curt language Considine fired off in Beavan's defense, but it's very much worth checking out.

I did not come to rehash all of that, but to take us back to the outfit itself.

What was buried in the clapping controversy was that Beavan was wearing just about the coolest outfit to have graced the Oscars this decade. It's an instantly classic entry in the annals of "Costume designers just do not give a crap" alongside Milena Canonero's form fitting Victorian men's suit in 2007, and Lizzy Gardiner's 1995 American Express dress (another controversial outfit that many people hate but remains one of the greatest things anyone has ever worn). Just look at it! 

All other considerations aside, that is badass. And it's also really on-point. The inherent ruggedness of (fake) leather, the heightened cartoon gaudiness of having a sequined image on the back, the fact that the image is a sort of cult identity marker, the way that her accessories suggest scavenging. She is, in effect, wearing the movie on her body, and taking it up to win the Oscar with her. More importantly, it's a way to put her own personality on display during a moment that should be entirely about here. And there is far more of Beavan the human being in that moment than any stock Hollywood figure wearing stock evening wear – this is a woman whose primary medium of expression is clothing, after all. As she put it backstage:

I don't do frocks and absolutely don't do heels, I have a bad back. I look ridiculous in a beautiful gown… I just like feeling comfortable and as far as I'm concerned I'm really dressed up."

And as far as we're concerned, she won the whole Oscar ceremony.

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